The American Fur Company Case Analysis

1856 words 8 pages
The American Fur Company

Sarah Julien
Business and Society
MGMT 363


The American Fur Company was a relentless monopoly operating in the climatic era of the fur trade. It was established by John Jacob Astor in 1808. The company was created at a time that was favorable to its expansion; it even grew to have a more powerful presence than the federal government over vast areas. This case study analysis will evaluate John Astor in terms of his motives, managerial ability, and ethics. This case study would also delve into a brief history of the fur trade in America and its impact on society.


A Brief History of the American Fur Industry.

Anyone who has ever observed a fur
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John Jacob Astor, the man most closely associated with the American fur trade and whose name is a synonym for wealth surpassing imagination, became involved in the business without ever setting a trap. The German-born immigrant to the United States, who rose from obscurity to build a financial empire, typifies the great American success story.
John Astor was born in Waldorf, Germany and at age 20 he came to the United States, first to Baltimore and later to New York City. Having few resources, he worked in a variety of jobs including a bakery assistant, a peddler and manager of a music store.
In 1787, Astor entered the fur trade and in a few years became one of the wealthiest men in America. He simplified his business by dealing directly with Native American trappers and established two successful companies, the American Fur Company (1808) and the Pacific Fur Company (1810).
His dream was to establish a single trading company with headquarters at the mouth of the Columbia River, and serve the entire American West. Toward that end, in 1811 he erected a trading station at the site of present-day Astoria, Oregon. When the British blockaded the post during the War of 1812, Astor sold out to them. The fort became the property of the U.S. government at the war's conclusion.
Following the war, Astor invested in a small fleet of ships to carry his furs to Europe and the Far East, particularly China. This international


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